Location: New England, United States

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Survival Instinct

Did you ever have a situation where you came away wondering how things could have gone so wrong; as though everyone was bouncing off each other - but never connecting?

This illustrates my whole week. Co-workers, friends, family - they all seemed to be bouncing around me and I could not get any connection, so today reviewing this awful week, I tried to weigh how things could have been different.

In my prayers this morning, I asked God what happened - what could I have done to change things. Well, that prayer was my first mistake, for his answer was - nothing. "Why do you believe you can affect others in such profound way; could it be pride and arrogance?"

"Aha!", I chortled. "You caught me!"

Then God gave me Matthew 12:7 "And, if you had know what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless." So I thought about all those troubling situations that plagued me this week through the lens of this scripture. It made the understanding crystal clear.

We were created with a potent survival instinct - not only for our physical well being, but also for the well being of 'self'. When others are needy, we tend to pull in our emotional storehouses to protect them for our future well being. When others are honored, we point out our own accomplishments, as well, to protect our image. When others are angry, we quickly set up our defenses in the event of an attack. We turn our backs to changes to allow us time to digest how these changes will affect us. Us, we, me, myself, I - we can always see our survival instinct rearing up.

So, how does all this pertain to Matthew 12:7? When we do something for someone else - which is it? Is it a sacrifice or a mercy? In the Old Testament, the Hebrew people made many sacrifices to God, but these sacrifices served themselves. Jesus changed the sacrificial Economy to one of Mercy.

The object of sacrifice is ourselves and our sin; the object of mercy is others. So we see that sacrifice is about our survival instinct - but - mercy is about love.

Remember, God does not give us sacrifice - he gives us mercy so we can pass this onto those around us.


Blogger KayMac said...

Good reminder.

9:52 AM  

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